[Thomas] That end…

Translation to English & Editing: Cleopatra Strati

“So; Are you ready;” The familiar voice of the Angel reaches my ears. I’ve been listening to it for a while now; I can almost smell it’s divine nature.

“No, she’s not awake yet,” I answer with my old, hoarse voice. A voice that once shook the walls, stentorian and kind; happy when she came.

“You told me that yesterday… and the day before yesterday… and the day before … and the day before …” the Angel moans; I understand his displeasure.

“Am I ruining your schedule?” I ask and he starts laughing out loud.

“Oh my goodness…you have such a strong sense of humor…I’m surprised you didn’t manage to work at the circus when you were little!”

“Yes, how did I escape back then? Thank God, they preferred the other pet of ours. I cannot even remember his name”. We both remained in silence trying to jog our memory. I can’t see well anymore, but I’m sure he’s looking at me with pity for what’s happening to me. For those years that went by; for those years that won’t come back; for those years that never count for him, for those years that went by …. Lightly… like a wind caress upon his face.

“Yeah, but then she came along….” he continues, testing my memory once more.

“Yes, she came…” I lower my head and rest my jaw on my front legs. In the memory of our first look, her brown eyes, warm and full of love, chilling me, scaring me; taking me all over. I had never received such warmth never again. I hunched my back, flared my black tail, and showed her that I am not one of those who can easily get away with it.

“Rafaela picked you up, took you away from there… You know, I was ready to come for you then. You were on my shortlist, as people used to say. But Rafaela saved you at the very last minute.”

“Better late than never, Angel…”

“Yes, that’s for sure my little friend. But we have to go now. Orders are orders, and time is precious to both of us.”

“She is going to wake up in a little while … look at the clock on the wall. In 5 minutes she will come downstairs to make her morning tea and put my favorite tin on me. Hey Angel, in 5 minutes; give me 5 more minutes…, it’s all I ask”. I meow beseechingly at him, almost screaming for him to hear me and do me this favor; this last favor.

The Angel is silent; he sits across from me with quietness, waiting for Rafaela to start her morning routine. On the other hand, I feel my heart beating with every second of the clock. I can almost hear her footsteps on the stairs, five…four…three…two…one, I can feel her lifting me in her arms and stroking my head, as only she knows how to do that. I purr silently, and softly as Rafaela embraces me in her warm arms.

The smell of the soft shampoo she uses to wash her white, short hair invades my nostrils. She carries me in her arms to the kitchen singing to me.

I like the cheech-a-cheech-chee-roni
Like they make at home
Or a healthy fish with the big backbone
I’m Abraham deLacey
Giuseppe Casey
Thomas O’Malley
O’Malley, the alley cat.

She sings our song. Our song! A song from an old nursery rhyme that she watched when she was young with her children. After her children were married only then we left together; to sing this song; she sang in her language and I in mine. How can I thank her for all the years we spent together? How can I thank her for all her joys and her sorrows? How can I thank her for all those winters that went by and I was the one that climbed into her bed to warm her feet? How can I thank her for all those summers that let me take the best position in front of the fan? She always gave me a bite of her food, even if she wouldn’t let me up to her table. How can I thank her for every laugh and every moment we had together?

I feel my heart weak but also full.

“Angel? If you have to take me with you, take me now. Now that my heart is open, and the joy is great, so the sorrow will be half…” I plead with him once more.

The Angel approaches Rafaela and me. She looks around as if she senses a gust of wind. Just a gust of wind and I feel myself floating. For the first time in years, I can see her in front of me. Almost the same, as the first time I saw her; almost unchanged. She’s staring into the air as if she can see me floating; as if she can look straight into my eyes. Her brown eyes look warmly into the void, knowing something is there.

“She cannot see you…”.

“She sees me…” I answer the Angel and turn to look at him.

“It’s time to leave”.

“Yes, Angel, it’s time to … leave”.

With all of my four legs, I swim in the air to reach him. I perch on his arms and he caresses my back with affection.

“Don’t worry Rafaela, I’ll take care of him,” the Angel said, extending his right hand and closing the eyes of my body. It’s like sleeping in her arms. It’s something we both liked.


[1] This is the first strophe from the song The Aristocats -Thomas O’ Malley by Phill Harris.

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